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Israel destroys Yasser Arafat's residence in Gaza

This photo shows Yasser Arafat’s house in the Gaza Strip that was destroyed by Israel on February 22, 2024. (Photo by Palestinian Culture Ministry)

The Palestinian Culture Ministry says Israel has demolished the residence of former head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Yasser Afarat in the besieged Gaza Strip in another “evidence of its brutality.”

“The occupation's targeting and destruction of the residence of the martyr and founding leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza is a continuation of its relentless assault,” Culture Minister Atef Abu Saif said in a press release on Thursday.

He noted that the Israeli attack was aimed at removing “the symbols of dignity and the struggle of our people.”

The minister noted that the house, where Arafat resided from 1995 to 2001, “holds the personal and family belongings of the eternal leader and has witnessed numerous significant moments in our people's history during his presence in Gaza at the inception of the Palestinian Authority.”

Abu Saif stressed that the Israeli regime’s acts of demolition serve as “further evidence of its brutality.”

“The assault on Palestinian cultural heritage during the ongoing war on Gaza, including historical structures, mosques, churches, cultural centers, heritage sites, museums, libraries, publishing houses, and universities, is consistent with the occupation's destructive values and policies,” he added

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime's decades-long campaign of bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians. Since the start of the offensive, the Tel Aviv regime has killed at least 29,514 Palestinians and injured more than 69,616 others.

Arafat passed away at the age of 75 in a military hospital in France in 2004, and was laid to rest in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, where he had remained since 2002.

He travelled to receive medical treatment in France after developing stomach pains while in Ramallah.

Many Palestinians and Palestinian officials have repeatedly accused the Israeli regime of masterminding what they say was an assassination of their leader.

In 2011, Arafat's widow Suha handed over some of the Palestinian leader's personal effects to a reporter from Qatar-based Al Jazeera television news network, who passed them to the Institute of Applied Radiophysics in the Swiss city of Lausanne for tests.

A 108-page report by the institute found unnaturally high levels of polonium in Arafat's ribs and pelvis, and in soil stained with his decaying organs.

In 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) dismissed a case brought by the widow and daughter of Yasser Arafat, who have said the late Palestinian leader died as a result of poisoning and sought to reopen an investigation into his death.

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